As an artist (and I’m sure many of you can relate to this,) I’m full of self doubt. I want so badly to do a good job. It’s hard to let go of that “have to make a good impression” feeling and leaving all my hang-ups “in the room” has never been easy. I had a great finish to the end of 2013. In December, I booked a few days on a big TV show, few commercials. Finished off the year feeling positive and very much in love. Rad.
The other day, I was walking to an audition. The sun was out but it was cold. I’d had two too many coffees and even though I was confident that I had done the work, I was in a bit of a panic and full of that self-doubt that plagues me all too often. In those few short blocks on the way to that session, the anxiety in my head had eventually convinced me that it was career change time.
Then I walked by the dog park.
There was this dog there. A beautiful young dark shepherd mix with tuffs of brown in his fur, white paws and a lighter nose. It was there with this woman… the owner, I’m assuming. She had another dog there too. A big old golden retriever with a limp and a gentle face. She called him Linus. He was dragging behind a bit but caught up eventually. Those dogs were solid friends.
The lady ruffled around in her pockets and quickly the dogs sat at her feet. It was either a treat or a ball in there. It was a ball. She threw it as hard as she could with one of those dog-ball-whippy-thrower things, and that ball FLEW. The shepherd took off, tail wagging and was almost under the ball before it hit the ground. Linus had no chance, but he tried and he ran as fast as his old years and bummed leg would let him.
This happened over and over and over and I’m sure Linus knew that he was never getting that ball. The other dog was just WAY too fast. The shepherd would drop it every couple of throws and give Linus a chance to pick it up for a second and have a good old drooling chew and then Linus would drop it again and let the lady throw it. Sure enough, the shepherd would beat Linus to the ball again.
The thing is though, and the thing that struck me the most, was that Linus’ tale was wagging too. He fucking loved it. That shepherd would be on his way back with a disgusting grassy ball in his mouth and Linus would hobble a few meters up to him and give him a bark and a playful nudge. He was having fun. There was something going on in between those flapping old ears, something in his brain amidst all the thoughts of squirrels and dog bones and mud and mailmen and treats.
There was hope.
There was something in that skull telling him that maybe one time, maybe just once, he'd get to that ball first.
It was a good 6 or 7 minutes that I stood there and I might have looked a little weird on that cold corner smiling at those dogs, but I went to that audition wearing that same smile. I had been calmed. Grounded and mentally realigned by Linus, the dog.
I realized that even though this work is hard sometimes, we should always have hope and we should always have fun. Even when we’re up against shepherds, our tales should always be wagging.
Just a thought. Thanks for reading.